Fashion, In Conversation

In Conversation with Jeanne Beker and Ron White

Jeanne Baker is back with another one-on-one interview with the remarkable Ron White!

Did you know Ron started his first company with a Visa cash advance? He had one month to make it or break it or go out of business – talk about taking chances and persevering!

Now get the inside scoop on how Ron first began his journey into the fashion world and why he designs shoes!

JB: You were interested in the retail aspect, the distribution aspect, and the business, but not as much as creating clothes – you weren’t looking at yourself as a designer.

Correct! I had these ideas and I wanted to execute them, and I was sort of plodding along doing this with other brands, and then after a while they were like, “we can’t do everything you’re asking for. My advisors around me said why don’t you start going to Italy and working with factories and do it on your own?

JB: Why shoes?

It wasn’t even my first choice! I got into the management training program and on day two they said you have to go work in shoes for at least the first year to learn it. I was like, I want to do clothing, why are you forcing us all to go into shoes, and they said it’s the hardest thing to sell and it’s the hardest thing to market and it was just more exciting, there was more of a challenge!

JB: How enslaved do you feel by trends that you know are sort of in the air?

There could be a giant trend happening like if the heel height got sky-high which it did for a while that’s on trend, that’s what on the runway, that’s what’s on models, that’s what’s on red carpets. But that’s not what my customer is going to buy, so do I need to have some of that shown? For sure, but do you put all your eggs in that basket? Absolutely not!

JB: You’re obviously walking the line between art and commerce, the creative side of your brain and the business side of your brain.

That’s exactly it! No one ever asks me that, but you’re right! It’s like what’s going to sell? What is the customer going to like versus what do I love?

I’m happy, proud and honoured that people still buy my shoes, love my shoes, send me notes saying that they bought 12 pairs this season, that my entire wardrobe is your shoes, if I can keep doing that I’ll be happy.

Essentially, as Jeanne Beker would put it: “There’s no business like shoe business”!

To shop the full assortment of Ron White shoes at TSC!

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